TL Speaks with Fabrice Fouillet About his Still Life Photography

From still life’s to architecture to product editorials, we love the way Fabrice Fouillet’s masterful eye guides the camera lens.  He has shot elegant and dramatic stills of accessories for magazines such as Numero, Wallpaper, and L’Officiel, and has collaborated on a number of projects with Paris creative studio Le Creative Sweatshop.  The Paris-based photographer, who dropped out of Gobelins School after one year to become a photographers assistant, recently added “Corpus Christi” to his personal portfolio, a series of photos devoted to the ecclesiastical architecture of 20th century churches and cathedrals around Europe.  We caught up with Fabrice to find out more about the making of an editorial photographer.

TL:  What is your earliest memory of photography?

FF:  My earliest memory of photography is precisely the day I decided to become a photographer.  June 1994.  I was in Madrid.  It appeared to me like evidence and taking pictures became an obsession.  I still have the same obsession.

TL:  Your photos seem to have a strong affinity to Old Masters still life’s.  How does art history inform your practice and how do these classical elements come into play when shooting contemporary products?

FF:  Studying art history by myself gave me some keys and sharpened my tastes.  I love Architecture, antique furniture, painting…When I was assisting, I made a book about the most important Antiquarians in Paris, it was so interesting to discover the different artistic movements that I didn’t know.  I have a feeling that this experience has been important for my artistic awakening.  I don’t know how all these elements come into play now.  It is just a part of me.  We are all the product of our own history…I guess it unconsciously guides me and makes me able to know if the picture I am doing is good or not.  When I was younger, I was fascinated by the images of Willy Ronis, Cartier-Bresson, then Irving Penn for his master still life pictures.

TL:  Your work rarely includes a human figure, and when it does, it is usually only a single body part such as an arm or a leg.  Is this a conscious decision on your part or just a natural result of the type of images you are creating?  How do you think the presence or absence of the figure affects your photographs?

FF:  I would say that it is a natural result of the still life photographer I am.  I am rarely commissioned to shoot people.  A single part of a body can just be a graphic element, a way to show a product.  I am not against shooting people and I did it for past commissions but this is not what I am made for.  In the Wallpaper series with meat and jewelry, parts of body are perfect to shoot rings and jewels, and we didn’t want to show more human.

TL: How does your personal work inform your editorial work and vice versa?

FF:  I think personal work is important for growth, success, and happyness!  I like to produce personal still life series like the “Lamp & Jelly” one.  But I need to go out of the studio and shoot something totally different.  I am interested in social architecture and have several projects in the works, including people this time.  I am also working on a book edition about a new stadium construction near Paris.  I recently shot Corpus Christi, a series about modern sacred spaces which in which I wanted to show a break of religious architectural tradition.  I hope to exhibit soon.  These projects are personal and they feed me, as they feed my work in the studio.

TL:  What is your dream shoot?  What and where would you be photographing?  If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

FF:  Difficult to say; all big and famous advertising campaigns or great magazines could be a dream for photographers.  The more creative the artistic direction, the more I am excited.  For me, the project I am about to start concerning the stadium construction is a bit of a dream.  This is a huge and fascinating book project.  I will totally free to make fine art pictures…a dream!

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